Improved Housing for International Students – University of Copenhagen

04 March 2016

Improved Housing for International Students

Moving to a foreign country to study is an overwhelming experience and a primary concern for students is often how to find a place to live during their stay abroad. For cities with a tight housing market such as Copenhagen it is a challenge to provide housing for all international students. But the UCPH Housing Foundation is steadily working towards this goal.

Increasing capacity

Prior to establishing the UCPH Housing Foundation in 2014, housing services at UCPH were managed by small units. Today, housing for UCPH students is managed by a modern and professionally run organization working towards a goal of offering housing to all international students and staff.

The 18th century buildings on Sølvgade used to house thousands of young soldiers. They are now being transformed into accommodation for 480 UCPH students.

The aim is to expand capacity by 160 percent over a three-year period through the construction of new residencies. Achieving this goal in a tight housing market requires a strategic approach and close cooperation with both private investors and local authorities. Director of the UCPH Housing Foundation, Charlotte Simonsen, emphasises the cooperation with Copenhagen Municipality as a positive example:  “I have been impressed with their understanding of the value of accommodation for international students. The municipality is genuinely committed to generating more capacity in the city”.

Crisis management

Not all housing projects have run seamlessly. Unfinished rooms and facilities at one of the new residences caused much concern and frustration last year. Staff at the Housing Foundation juggled crisis management in relation to partner universities, parents, students, legal advisors and the owner of the building. It was a very unfortunate situation and a difficult task for everyone involved.

“During the process we focused on communication. It was important for us to provide precise information in a timely manner and to be available in person to listen to the concerns of everyone involved”, tells Charlotte Simonsen.

Taking housing seriously

Charlotte Simonsen stresses that while the Housing Foundation is in a period  of growth and are optimizing  processes to fulfil its targets, one of the Foundation’s primary values remains to ensure that tenants never become ”just a number”.  To have a successful international experience it is essential not only to have a place to stay, but also be able to contact and meet staff who listen and take your questions or concerns regarding accommodation seriously.

Contact the Housing Foundation for more information or visit the website.